John Ruskin (1819–1900), who Leo Tolstoy described as "one of those rare men who think with their heart." A champion of the work of J. M. W. Turner, Ruskin detested the work of James McNeill Whistler.[1]

An art critic is a person who is specialized in analyzing, interpreting, and evaluating art. Their written critiques or reviews contribute to art criticism and they are published in newspapers, magazines, books, exhibition brochures, and catalogues and on websites. Some of today's art critics use art blogs and other online platforms in order to connect with a wider audience and expand debate.


Differently from art history, there is not commonly an institutionalized training for art critics. Art critics come from different backgrounds and they may or may not be university trained.[2] Professional art critics are expected to have a keen eye for art and a thorough knowledge of art history. Typically the art critic views art at exhibitions, galleries, museums or artists' studios and they can be members of the International Association of Art Critics which has national sections.[3] Very rarely art critics earn their living from writing criticism.

The opinions of art critics have the potential to stir debate on art-related topics. Due to this the viewpoints of art critics writing for art publications and newspapers adds to public discourse concerning art and culture. Art collectors and patrons often rely on the advice of such critics as a way to enhance their appreciation of the art they are viewing. Many now-famous and celebrated artists were not recognized by the art critics of their time, often because their art was in a style not yet understood or favored. Conversely, some critics, have become particularly important helping to explain and promote new art movementsRoger Fry with the Post-Impressionist movement, Lawrence Alloway with pop art as examples.


According to James Elkins[4] there is a distinction between art criticism and art history based on institutional, contextual, and commercial criteria; the history of art criticism is taught in universities, but the practice of art criticism is excluded institutionally from academia. An experience-related article is Agnieszka Gratza.[5] Always according to James Elkins in smaller and developing countries, newspaper art criticism normally serves as art history. James Elkins's perspective portraits his personal link to art history and art historians and in What happened to art criticism he furthermore highlights the gap between art historians and art critics by suggesting that the first rarely cite the second as a source and that the second miss an academic discipline to refer to.[6]


Notable art critics

For a more comprehensive list, see List of art critics.

Erik de Smedt

See also


  1. ^ "Turner Whistler Monet". Tate. Archived from the original on 2012-01-12. Retrieved 2009-04-12.
  2. ^ James Elkins, What happened to art criticism, Prickley Paradigm Press, 2003, p. 8.
  3. ^ "Organisation Chart 2012–2013 – AICA international". Archived from the original on 2013-12-12. Retrieved 2013-12-12.
  4. ^ James Elkins, "Introduction" in Is Art History Global?, dir. James Elkins, Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2007, pp. 5–15.
  5. ^ Gratza, Agnieszka (17 October 2013). "Frieze or faculty? One art critic's move from academia to journalism". The Guardian.
  6. ^ James Elkins, What Happened to Art Criticism, Prickley Paradigm Press, 2003, pp. 4–5, 9.
  7. ^ Edmond and Jules de Goncourt, French Eighteenth-Century Painters. Cornell Paperbacks, 1981, pp. 222–225. ISBN 0-8014-9218-1
  8. ^ Dickson, Harold Edward (1943). Observations on American Art: Selections from the Writings of John Neal (1793–1876). State College, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State College. p. ix.
  9. ^ Sears, Donald A. (1978). John Neal. Boston, Massachusetts: Twayne Publishers. p. 118. ISBN 080-5-7723-08.
  10. ^ Joanna Richardson, Baudelaire, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1994, p. 191, ISBN 0-312-11476-1.
  11. ^ J'accuse letter at French wikisource
  12. ^ Lunn, Margaret Rauschenbach (15 October 1982). "G.-Albert Aurier, Critic and Theorist of Symbolist Art" (PDF) (PhD thesis). Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 June 2011.
  13. ^ Grayling, A.C; Goulder, Naomi; Pyle, Andrew, eds. (2006). Bell, Arthur Clive Heward – Oxford Reference. doi:10.1093/acref/9780199754694.001.0001. ISBN 9780199754694. Retrieved 2018-09-17.
  14. ^ Ian Chilvers, ed. (1990). "Fry, Roger". The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. p. 169.
  15. ^ [1], Refurbished Reputation for a Nervy Painter.
  16. ^ From "A Short Chronology", in Donald Allen: The Collected Poems of Frank O'Hara.
  17. ^ This theory has been described as an "influential theory about the nature of art", according to Philosophy Now, November 2013
  18. ^ "John Berger obituary". The Guardian. 2 January 2017. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  19. ^ "I think the dead are with us": John Berger at 88". The New Statesman. 11 June 2015. Retrieved 3 January 2017.